Move over milk, cookies are growing up!
Santa Claus is not the only grownup who enjoys cookies during the holidays. Whether you are preparing for a cookie exchange, a holiday party or family gathering, it is possible to enjoy an adult libation with your holiday sweets. After all, it is the most “wine-derful” time of the year – queue in the song It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams. Now that you are fully immersed in the holiday spirit, let’s talk about holiday cookie and wine pairings.
Cookies come in all shapes, sizes, textures and flavors. When pairing wine with sweets, there are a few things to consider.
As a general rule, the wine should be of equal sweetness of your cookie/dessert. If the food is too sweet, the wine will taste flabby and sour.
- Sweet pairs well with salty, spicy and sweet foods
- Sweet increases the perception of acidity, bitterness of wine and decreases the sweetness, fruit and body of the wine. This means if you were to drink a dry wine with dessert, it will make the wine taste overly tannic, bitter or astringent.
Here are some Holiday Cookie & Wine pairings
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Fortified wines are a classic chocolate pairing – think LBV Port or Banyuls dessert wine. Most people have a Cabernet Sauvignon at home, just be careful that the wine is the same sweetness level as the cookie, it balances the black fruit, vanilla and caramel.
White Chocolate Confetti Christmas Cookies
Sauternes and Icewine are a wonderful pairing for white chocolate sweetness. Both the chocolate and the wines have a rich mouthfeel and high acid which is why they work so well together.
Sugar Cookies Pairing
A crisp sparkling wine such as a Brut Champagne or dry Prosecco is light and bubbly which will cut through the creamy, fatty taste of a delicious sugar cookie as well as have textural contrast with the bubbles to cookie. A lighter aromatic wine such as an Albariño, Torrontes, Viognier or Pinot Gris would pair nicely with a sugar cookie. The lighter cookie will be a compliment with a crisp, lively white, the acidity and vanilla of the cookie go nicely with the brown sugar element.
Tawny Port is rich in mouthfeel, has the sweetness to hold up to any caramel, baking spice and raisin flavors of this cookie. Shiraz also has dark fruit flavors with a spicy and peppery aftertaste, this is the ultimate “opposites attract” pairing.
The light, fruity flavors of a good off-dry Riesling or a Tokaji dessert wine creates a nice contrast for the bold winter spices spices: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger, plus chopped crystallized ginger which enhances the flavors of both cookie and wine. The smooth, slightly oily texture of the wine also contrasts well with the texture of most gingerbreads. If you are interested in a red wine, a bold Zinfandel’s blueberry, black plum, black cherry and black pepper will stand up to this equally bold cookie.
Holiday Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Pinot Noir is a medium bodied red wine that has tons of red fruit flavors such as raspberry, cranberry, and strawberry so you have some options when baking. The bright, vanilla that come from the oak barrels will complement the not-so-sweet cookie base. This combination is tart and jammy.
Chardonnay or Demi-Sec Champagne. The butteriness of the Chardonnay and the acidity, brioche and pastry notes of the Champagne complement as well as highlights the fruitiness of the wine.
Eggnog Spritz Cookie
Moscato D’Asti has pronounced peach, orange blossom, fruit cocktail sweetness which will go perfectly with the sweet nutmeg cinnamon and vanilla character of the cookie.
Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Biscotti
Vin Santo is a classic Italian cookie pairing. The wine is sweet but still comes off as an acidic dessert wine and easily complements a nutty and crispy biscotti. Let’s not forget Banyuls or LBV Port which are delicious dark chocolate pairings made in heaven.
Bourbon Toffee Fleur de Sel Vanilla Fudge
Tawny Port is rich in mouthfeel, has the sweetness to hold up to any caramel, baking spice flavors of these sweets.